‘It’s purposeful and meaningful work.’
The Lohman family sold off their funeral homes six years ago, but Nancy Lohman never completely left the business. She would get calls from friends and acquaintances to help them plan arrangements for services and she would volunteer her time.
“I felt it was real compliment to be asked,” she said recently. “I still felt in my heart the passion to help in any way I could. For a family to ask you to be part of that tender moment is a real privilege.”
Now, Lohman has agreed to be a part-time consultant for Stonemor. She will train funeral directors and assist them in planning life celebration events to enhance the family’s experience. To create a personalized tribute, she said, funeral directors must get the person’s life story from the family.
Lohman has a good working relationship with the directors at Lohman Funeral Homes because she had hired all them, she said. Stonemor Partners LP, the company that purchased the Lohman Funeral Homes, kept the same staff.
She will mostly work with the Lohman funeral homes in Volusia and Flagler counties, but will also work at other Stonemor locations. Her new duties include community outreach and Lohman looks forward to it, saying funeral service is a purposeful and meaningful work.
TRENDS IN FUNERALS
Years ago, funeral services were very cookie-cutter, Lohman said. Now, the services are often life celebrations that vary depending on the wishes of the family.
“Culturally, society has changed,” she said. “Over the last 50 years, we’ve become a society that’s very mobile, very global.”
“Funeral directors have become more of an event planner.”
NANCY LOHMAN, funeral service professional
Sometimes a somber ceremony is appropriate, but often families feel the service should be more of a tribute and more customized and personalized.
“Funeral directors have become more of an event planner,” she said. “They have to have the mindset to facilitate the type of tribute that the family requests. He doesn’t have the same duties or the same expectations from every family.”
But having a ritual is just as important as ever, Lohman said. One of her favorite quotes is from Dr. Alan Wolfelt, founder of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Colorado. He said, “When words aren’t enough, people have ceremonies.”
“That’s so true,” Lohman said. “That’s why when we have weddings, baptisms, we have rituals associated with them.”
Stonemor Partners L.P. kept the name Lohman Funeral Homes, Cremations and Cemeteries for the properties. There is a Lohman home in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, South Daytona, DeLand, Deltona and Palm Coast.
Stonemor, headquartered in Trevose, Pennsylvania, owns and operates 322 cemeteries and 91 funeral homes in 27 states and Puerto Rico.
DOWNSIZING, FOR NOW
After selling the funeral homes, the Lohman family began purchasing and operating apartment buildings and that business is still active as Lohman Property Management.
Lohman started the apartment business with her husband Lowell and son Ty. At one time, they had 17 apartments but have sold 14. They now own one in Jacksonville and two in Orlando with about 1,200 units. At one time they had 4,000 units.
She said the reason for the sales was that it was a buyer’s market. They continue to look for other properties to purchase.
When they started the business, they had the word “eagle” in all of the names but found having a “brand” wasn’t necessary because the complexes were located far apart.